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Life in Alaska

HooDoo is Fairbanks' and Alaska's Newest Brewery

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Jesse Coleman
/
friend of KUAC

Fairbanks, AK - After two years of planning and twelve years of dreaming, the HooDoo Brewing Company is officially open to the public.  People gathered just after the doors opened at 3:00 pm Wednesday as the first kegs were tapped.  HooDoo is Alaska’s 23rd micro-brewery.  

Inside the Hoodoo Brewing Company, tall ceilings hang over large, shiny steel fermenting tanks that dwarf the bar. As music blares from a speaker in back, owner and Brewer Bobby Wilken watches members of his small staff fill pint glasses for the first few customers to come through the doors.

“We have the koelsch, which is a Northern German ale," he says.  "We tried to make it as well as we could exactly like you would get in Cologne, Germany.  The other beer is an American IPA.  A simple recipe, just American malts and hops from the Willamette valley in Oregon,” says Wilken.

HooDoo is named for a mountain range south of Paxson.  That’s where Wilken and his brother used to go snowmachining.

"One time we were parked on a Glacier, drinking a beer and we were always thinking about brewery names and this was many Doyears ago and we said 'Wow! Wouldn’t HooDoo Brewing Company be a cool name and that was basically it.'”

Wilken spent a couple years working for the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau.  He also studied brewing for a year in Munich, Germany.

“There’s basically two different styles of brew houses: English style and German style," he explains. "The German style being more complex and intricately built to make beer to exacting specifications, so our brew house is a German style brew house for that reason just to have complete control over the beers that we make.”

Opening day has been long in coming for Wilken.  He ran into a few roadblocks with the city.  A brewery involves a number of mechanical systems, from plumbing, to steam heat and a heavy electrical load.
“So it was a real complex project and the city had never done a brewery before," he smiles.

But Wilken received his occupancy certificate from the city last week.  Beer is selling in 64 ounce glass growlers for now.  Wilken is still working out the kinks with a labeling issue before he can sell kegs and distribute beer to local restaurants.